Baffert stripped, sued, suspended

Medina Spirit (Apr. 5, 2018 – Dec. 6, 2021) has been stripped of [his] Kentucky Derby title nine months after a failed post-race drug test, writes Today on Feb. 22, 2022. Renowned trainer Bob Baffert will be suspended for 90 days from the sport beginning next month, but his attorney says he plans to appeal. Mandaloun, who placed second in the race has been named the race’s official winner. Source »

Monday’s decision by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission makes Medina Spirit the second horse in the 147-year history of the race to be disqualified for a banned substance.

Baffert sued by bettors

WLKY reports:

Nearly two dozen bettors are now suing Churchill Downs and well-known trainer Bob Baffert following a decision to disqualify the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby due to a failed drug test.

The class action lawsuit was filed Monday, the same day the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced its decision to disqualify Medina Spirit.

Nineteen bettors filed the lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court, all of whom are seeking money damages from Churchill Downs and Baffert. They are also calling for reforms at the racetrack to prevent similar incidents. Source »

Thoroughbred Daily News adds:

Monday’s ruling by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) that disqualified Medina Spirit from the 2021 GI Kentucky Derby has now triggered dueling letters to the federal judge overseeing the class-action case in which a group of bettors are suing trainer Bob Baffert for allegedly engaging in a years-long pattern of racketeering based on his purported “doping” of Thoroughbreds.

The plaintiffs in the case, led by Michael Beychok, the winner of the 2012 National Horseplayers Championship, on Feb. 22 filed a letter in United States District Court (District of New Jersey) informing the judge that Medina Spirit was disqualified for a betamethasone overage and that Baffert was suspended for 90 days and fined $7,500.

On Feb. 23, Baffert’s lead attorney, W. Craig Robertson, III fired back with his own letter alleging that the public filing by the plaintiffs was “inappropriate, misleading, and, most importantly, irrelevant to the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss which is currently pending before the Court.” Source »

No Oaks for Baffy

Bill Finley reports:

A total of 103 horses have been nominated to the GI Kentucky Oaks and they all have one thing in common: none are trained by Bob Baffert.

According to Churchill Downs Senior Director, Media Services, Darren Rogers, it was not a case of Churchill rejecting Baffert’s nominees, but a matter of Baffert failing to nominate any horses.

Baffert is under suspension at Churchill and ineligible to race in the Oaks, but that doesn’t mean that horses currently under his care won’t be able to compete in the race. Baffert’s owners have the option of removing their horses from his barn and giving them to another trainer, which would allow them to run in the Oaks. Source »

In the article above, Finley asks, “Why Baffert did not nominate any of his horses is unclear. Was it a sign that he is not going to fight the Churchill ban and is resigned to not competing in either the Oaks or the Kentucky Derby?” However, “Baffert’s top colts have been nominated to the Kentucky Derby, but the process of nominating for the Derby is different from the Oaks. The 3-year-old males are nominated to all three Triple Crown races at once and there are no restrictions in place that would keep Baffert out of the Preakness.” Source »

The Paulick Report reveals:

Thus far, 83 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby have been vacated by Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-olds. The ban implemented against the Hall of Fame trainer by Churchill Downs means that even if his trainees win prep races, they are not eligible to earn points or compete in the Kentucky Derby. According to Horse Racing Nation, the owners of some of those Derby prospects have refused to discuss whether they will move their horses to another trainer in order to pursue eligibility for the Run for the Roses. Source »

Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Medina Spirit is bathed after a workout ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Medina Spirit necropsy results

Medina Spirit died December 6, 2021, following a workout at Santa Anita Park in California. A necropsy — an autopsy for animals — was required by the California Horse Racing Board, report WLKY.

Two months later, the necropsy has been released, and according to the report, “a definitive cause of death could not be established” — but “sudden cardiorespiratory arrest/cardiac failure (is) suspected.” Suspected.

Medina Spirit was three years old. His necropsy also mentions:

Omeprazole (an antiulcer medication) and furosemide (aka Lasix, a diuretic) were detected in blood and urine samples.

Degenerative joint disease was seen in the fetlock and elbow joints.

While they could not pinpoint an exact cause, the report did say swollen lungs and foam in the trachea, enlarged spleen and congestion and mild hemorrhages in other tissues seen on the postmortem examination are common in horses dying suddenly, and are compatible with, but not specific for a cardiac cause of death.

Could not pinpoint an exact cause. Compatible with, but not specific for a cardiac cause of death. What . . . ?

In the meantime, there will be Postmortem Examination Review. We can hardly wait.

Read the necropsy here » Read full news release here »

Featured Image/Bob Baffert: Axios.com.


Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

6 thoughts on “Baffert stripped, sued, suspended”

  1. Can we please now be treated to a live view of Baffert being led away in CHAINS? Futile wish. I get it. Also my fond wish: though not used to thinking of myself as particularly “bloodthirsty” I nevertheless find myself hoping to see Baffert helplessly restrained while being injected with or force-fed the same drugs and assorted toxics he’s used in his training barn….and then forced to run, run again, and run some more. Maybe followed by incarceration in a third-world prison – like forever? Oh my that would be a sight! Unfortunately in this country for the worst crimes against other humans or any animals, the concept of eye for an eye failed to take hold. Too bad because IMO punishment has become a cliched round of plea deals and payment of ineffective fines that represent mere pin money. Unfortunately in this country if (big “if”) he’s actually ever arrested there won’t be any perp walk, and his groupies (wealthy investors who lick his boots while cringing pathetically and begging for a “win”) will front a million or more bucks to pay for endless legal representation by lawyers who will find ever more creative ways to manipulate laws and regulations so that Baffert will walk free to kill another horse. Horses. Dozens.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I am truly sorry for MS (RIP) – he did not deserve this. But I am happy that Baffert has been punished, and will be barred from upcoming stakes races. He needs to exit the NA racing scene. Being the “much celebrated” face of it certainly puts an enormous stain on it. A stench like no other, despite his adoring, fallacious fans who appallingly rationalize his long list of doping infractions.

    As for the necropsy – what a farce. No doubt, this horse has been stealthily abused with drugs that, over his short life, took a toll on his heart. Just because there were no traces of prohibited drugs in his system at the time of the necropsy does not mean that they weren’t used in the past. Drugs such as EPO, or thyroxine for example, both of which will affect cardiac function. Recall that seven of Baffert’s horses died mysteriously during a 16-month period that was suspiciously linked to his reckless and routine habit of administering the powerful hormone thyroxine to horses without thyroid conditions.

    Baffert – callous equine serial killer. When winning triumphs morals.

    Liked by 2 people

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